What is Astrophotography: Definition and 30 Discussions

Astrophotography, also known as astronomical imaging, is photography of astronomical objects, celestial events, and areas of the night sky. The first photograph of an astronomical object (the Moon) was taken in 1840, but it was not until the late 19th century that advances in technology allowed for detailed stellar photography. Besides being able to record the details of extended objects such as the Moon, Sun, and planets, astrophotography has the ability to image objects invisible to the human eye such as dim stars, nebulae, and galaxies. This is done by long time exposure since both film and digital cameras can accumulate and sum light photons over these long periods of time.
Photography using extended exposure-times revolutionized the field of professional astronomical research, recording hundreds of thousands of new stars and nebulae invisible to the human eye. Specialized and ever-larger optical telescopes were constructed as essentially big cameras to record images on photographic plates. Astrophotography had an early role in sky surveys and star classification but over time it has given way to more sophisticated equipment and techniques designed for specific fields of scientific research, with image sensors becoming just one of many forms of sensor.Today, astrophotography is mostly a subdiscipline in amateur astronomy, usually seeking aesthetically pleasing images rather than scientific data. Amateurs use a wide range of special equipment and techniques.

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  1. russ_watters

    Stargazing Is There an Unidentified Object Near the Horsehead Nebula?

    As I mentioned in another thread, I'm imaging the Horsehead Nebula right now. On the evenings of 2/5 and 2/6 from suburban Philly between 6:30 and 9:00pm I captured an unknown object/phenomena about a half degree below and to the right of the horsehead (when oriented upright). It is 3 lights...
  2. P

    Stargazing What is the best Dobsonian telescope with a goto feature?

    My interests include; Large telescopes & Astrophotography Sub-atomic particles The Copenhagen Interpretation Black Holes Bubble universes and the Multiverse Many Worlds Theory The Holographic Proposal Quantum entanglement Causality, determinism and free will
  3. NFuller

    Insights Getting Started with Solar System Imaging - Comments

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Getting Started with Solar System Imaging Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  4. spark802

    Stargazing North American nebula from this past summer

    I shot this from western Canada July of 2016. Processed this out of a single exp as i had trouble stacking my subs. 300 secs, guided, 80mm doublet, Modded Canon 550d. https://www.flickr.com/photos/49843779@N08/29239414483/in/dateposted/
  5. Andy Resnick

    Stargazing Advanced Astrophotography - Comments

    Andy Resnick submitted a new PF Insights post Advanced Astrophotography Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  6. Andy Resnick

    Stargazing Intermediate Astrophotography - Comments

    Andy Resnick submitted a new PF Insights post Intermediate Astrophotography Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  7. Andy Resnick

    Stargazing Introduction to Astrophotography - Comments

    Andy Resnick submitted a new PF Insights post Introduction to Astrophotography Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  8. sophiecentaur

    Stargazing Processor power for entry level Astrophotography

    I saw what a fellow member of my Astro Society had obtained from fairly basic gear and I reckon I should be able to 'afford' something like he has. He is using his elderly DSLR, mounted on an ioptron startracker and is producing pictures of nebulae which I couldn't hope to obtain by eye from my...
  9. C

    B Are colors in astro photos 'real'?

    There are lots of amazing photographs of nebula around. The colors contribute greatly to their grandeur. But if we were able to get near enough to a nebula to see it with the naked eye would it possesses the colors we see in published photographs taken by telescopes? Or are the colors in astro...
  10. sophiecentaur

    Stargazing Achieving Better Astrophotography at Home

    Here's another question for more experienced sky watchers. I have seen such impressive results from high quality astrophotography and I accept that the visual views from by garden will be vastly inferior. But there are many filters for sale and I would love to avoid buying something at great...
  11. kolleamm

    Stargazing Software to adjust exposure? webcam, astrophotography

    I'd like to use a webcam and take images of the planets directly from my computer but I can't seem to find a software though that let's me adjust the exposure for the live video while it's streaming. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance
  12. Andy Resnick

    Astrophotography with New Sensor - Improved Alignment & Stabilization

    Back up and running; got these last weekend. 400/2.8, 50 minutes total integration time, 10s ISO 2000 individual frames. 800/5.6, 14 minutes total, 6s ISO 2000 individual frames. It's been an adjustment to the new sensor, my alignment technique had to improve by about 2x to eliminate...
  13. Glenstr

    Stargazing Got my First Telescope | Celestron Sky Prodigy 130 | Astrophotography

    Over the last year or so I've been thinking seriously about getting a telescope, having my eye on the Celestron Nexstar 6SE model or getting a slightly smaller 5" model that's more automated for about the same price. Well, yesterday my mind got made up for me as it was my birthday & my wife...
  14. Kelson Adams

    Stargazing Astrophotography -- Best Telescopes?

    What are the best telescopes for amateur astronomy? I realize that there are many differences between telescopes, but let's face it. If I'm going to invest in a great telescope, I want it to produce a high-resolution image and to survive for a significant amount of time. -- and I absolutely do...
  15. B0b-A

    Have you seen the meteoric smoke-ring?

    4 seconds from start ... vimeo.com/110535098 [ it's time-lapse : "...120 consecutive 30 second exposures ..." , so about 360x normal speed ]
  16. L

    Stargazing Getting Started with Astrophotography: A Beginner's Guide

    Wow, all of this Astrophotography looks incredible! I really want to start getting into taking my own pictures, but have no idea where to start. I have no equipment and no idea of what equipment I would need... Any Help? Like maybe a beginners guide on a website somewhere? Thanks, Rich.
  17. cronxeh

    Stargazing Need advice on telescope for astrophotography

    So I am finally getting out in the wilderness on vacation and I thought it would be a great idea to do some astrophotography. I thought of getting a simple enough Nextstar 4SE, but I have a bigger budget and maybe I can get a bigger diameter and aperture. So my question is, which telescope...
  18. larkspur

    Stargazing Can I Take Photos of Saturn and Galaxies with My Meade ETX70 Telescope?

    I have a Meade ETX70. Is it possible to photograph anything but the sun and moon with it? If so what would be the best method? My Canon Digital Rebel SLR is too heavy for it. What about a color ccd like the Meade Deep Sky Imager II? I would really like to get some good pictures of Saturn...
  19. russ_watters

    Stargazing Interested in Astrophotography? Check Out My Site!

    Yes, I know, shameless spam. Anyway, I've finally put up a site of my astrophotography. I'd like some feedback about the design, as I'm not a very creative person... www.russsscope.net
  20. russ_watters

    Stargazing QuickCam Astrophotography: Tips for Stunning Night Sky Photos

    Inspired by http://www.usno.navy.mil/pao/QuickCamAstro.shtml , I've started using my 60mm refractor and a quickcam for astrophotography. Attached is one of my first pics (downsampled from 640x480 - I'll have to put up a website). I used a 15 second video clip combined into one photo and...
  21. P

    Stargazing Expert Astrophotography Tips & Discussions | Share Your Photos!

    Looking for advice? Willing to share your expertise with other PF members? Brave enough to share & discuss your own astrophotos? Then this is the thread for you. Enjoy! In all our cosmological discussions, let's not forget to actually go stargazing once in a while! :biggrin: Thanks...
  22. D

    Stargazing Astrophotography with Afocal Method: Tips for Better Results

    I'm trying out the old fashioned Afocal method for astrophotography. I'm using a Olympus Camedia C-4000 Digital Camera. The pictures, don't turn out very well. Basically, you see small circle with color (the image), and a thick black border surrounding it (the eyepiece). I can't get the...
  23. Drakkith

    Stargazing Remote Telescopes for New or Old Astrophotographers

    Astrophotography is a challenging hobby whose unique challenges and high upfront cost can turn many would be astrophotographers away. Instead of worrying about spending thousands of dollars, finding a good spot to image from, and dealing with setting up and tearing down equipment, another option...
  24. A

    M42 and the Running Man nebula with Takahashi 150mm

    First post on PF, thought I'd share my first serious attempt at astrophotography. I used itelescope since it's perpetual cloud cover where I'm at sadly, and all of my processing was done in Astroart. I learned a lot with this, but it's definitely an uphill struggle! M42 and the Running Man...
  25. Greg Bernhardt

    Meet a Mentor: George Jones

    Meet a Mentor is a weekly series to help you get to know your wonderful Mentors better. Constructive questions and comments are welcome! Today we meet: George Jones Give us a brief history of George Jones. On my mother’s side, my roots in Canada have been traced back to the late 1600s; on my...
  26. Greg Bernhardt

    Meet a Mentor: Russ_Watters

    Greg Bernhardt submitted a new PF Insights post Interview with an Engineer: Russ Watters Continue reading the Original PF Insights Post.
  27. A

    Stargazing Any tips for amateur astrophotography beginners?

    I saw this mentioned in a few threads, and I thought, seeing as I just inherited a 2nd hand digital camera from my dad, maybe I should give it a go. Any tips for a beginner? I guess I should get a tripod. My camera is an Olympus SP-55OUZ with manual settings and 18x optical zoom. It's a...
  28. Andy Resnick

    Stargazing What are the limitations of astrophotography and how can they be overcome?

    This may be discussed elsewhere, but I thought I could share some results I obtained during the course of trying to photograph YU55 and some other faint objects. The background references are Roggeman and Welsh, "Imaging through turbulence" and David Saint-Jacques' Ph.D dissertation which I...
  29. Borek

    Picture sharpness and air effects

    This is basically a question to Andy. As I already wrote in the outdoor thread I have a problem with pictures taken while in Croatia - in general far objects are never sharp. Initially I thought it is a problem with one of the lenses I was using, but after some browsing I realized it is not...